A meeting held between unions of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank and the lender’s administration to discuss the implementation of the deal with Hellenic Bank on Tuesday produced no breakthrough, a union representative said.
“At the previous meeting we held, we asked for clarifications which they didn’t give us today,” said Elysseos Michael, who represented SEK in the meeting, in a telephone interview. “They were not ready, so we decided to have another meeting in two days.”
While a gap continues to separate the two sides concerning the financial specifics of a voluntary retirements scheme that will be offered to the Co-op’s 2,700 employees, more time was spent on practical questions the unions raised, Michael added.
According to the deal that provides for the transfer of the Co-op’s operations to Hellenic Bank signed a month ago, Hellenic will have to take 1,100 workers of the state-owned bank while another 900 will benefit from the voluntary retirement scheme. The remaining workers will be staffing a government-owned body that will manage the Co-op’s non-performing loans. Under the terms of the deal, Hellenic will take over and continue to operate more than 120 Co-op branches, in addition to the more than 50 it operates now.
“The workers need answers to specific questions of a practical nature before they can decide whether to apply for the scheme,” Michael said. “We asked them to clarify what qualifications will be required for those who will continue working for the non-performing loans managing body, and we have not received any answers yet.”
“The same applies to the question about the branches that will be shut down or will be operated,” he said. “Will the closure affect the branch in Prodromos or in Akaki?”
Michael added that while the unions insist that the voluntary retirement scheme will have to be ‘attractive’, the unions insist that Hellenic will have to honour agreements already struck with the Co-op.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, the Co-op has already proposed to workers represented by SEK, PEO, PASYDY and ETYK minimum compensation for those who opt to retire of €20,000 per employee and a €170,000 cap.